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Idaho authorities reporting surge in marijuana trafficking

In some form or another, the use and sale of marijuana have always been present in Idaho. However, now that many Western states have legalized the recreational or medicinal use of the drug, authorities report that Idaho is increasingly becoming a hotbed for marijuana trafficking.

A representative from the Idaho State Police recently told KIVI News 6 that marijuana trafficking in the state has risen by 2,000 percent since 2011. Much of the trafficking activity takes place on Interstate 86, which crosses the state from east to west. Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 30 are also emerging as major trafficking routes.

State Police Captain Eric Dayley told KIVI that the increase is likely due to the relaxed marijuana regulations in nearby states. Both Washington and Colorado recently legalized the use of recreational marijuana, while Montana and Oregon allow some residents to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Visitors to Idaho tend to run into trouble when they travel from one of these states. Many people mistakenly believe that possessing a medical marijuana card from their home state protects them when they cross state lines. In reality, though, marijuana possession - especially in large quantities - continues to be treated as a serious crime in Idaho.

Idaho marijuana penalties

Under Idaho law, the possession of anything less than three ounces of marijuana for personal use is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year of incarceration and a fine of up to $1,000. Personal use possession of between three ounces and one pound of marijuana is a felony that can bring up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The penalties are harsher if authorities determine that the marijuana is being possessed with the intent to distribute it. Possession of less than a pound of marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony that carries the potential of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Possession of anything more than one pound is considered to be marijuana trafficking. In addition to the maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine, Idaho law imposes mandatory minimum prison sentences for marijuana trafficking crimes. Trafficking in between one and five pounds of marijuana will bring at least a year in prison, while trafficking in between five and 25 pounds carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison. Anything more than 25 pounds will bring at least five years in prison.

Even though the cultural attitudes surrounding marijuana are changing, it is important to remember that these strict prohibitions still remain in effect. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a marijuana crime in Idaho, be sure to talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you protect your rights and your future.

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